When Matt Collins felt a twinge in his back 18 months ago he thought little of it.
But the 47-year-old from Harrogate was eventually diagnosed with myeloma, a rare type of bone marrow cancer caused by changes in the DNA of the plasma cells, which form part of the immune system.
Matt has undergone months of gruelling medical appointments but despite the stresses of his treatment, he retains a positive outlook.
The brave dad is now planning to put himself through two daunting fundraising challenges to raise money for research into the disease that threatens to cut short his own life.
Matt is raising money for Myeloma UK, a charity that builds awareness of the condition andf unds research into new forms of treatment.
On June 18 he’ll be completing the Yorkshire Three Peaks – a mammoth 24-mile hike up Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough to be completed within 12 hours – with brothers Daniel and Richard. Then, a few weeks later, he’ll head to Spain with best friend Dean Bradley to attempt an all-day, multi-pitch ascent of La Momia, a 140m rocky pinnacle of Montserrat in Catalonia.
“I want to make the most of my life,” he says. “All this has given me an edge, a zest for doing stuff. You stop kidding yourself. All your defences slip away, but somehow you build them up again – and become more determined than ever.”